Kids, Jobs and Gambling: Stakes Are High

June 14, 2007

Notes from all over, based on taking chances with cold, hard cash: The Syracuse School district, trying to prevent as many as 130 job cuts and push ahead with a re-configuration plan despite its apparent cash shortage, is taking out a big loan.

With expected State Legislature approval, the schools will borrow $6 million from the state, an advance on future lottery-generated aid, to be paid back over the next 30 years. Even with the loan, jobs are still likely to be cut, as a couple of elementary schools will start moving toward a K-8 student body- said by some experts to be the best way to improve the sad test scores of many middle schoolers.

turningstone.jpgCNY’s Turning Stone Casino wins the big gamble on its future: The U.S. Interior Department says it’s free to keep operating, despite an earlier court decision that found its compact with New York State- approved only by former governor Mario Cuomo- illegal. The lights will keep flashing, the wheels will continue to spin, and profits said to total more than a billion dollars a year will keep rolling in.

Place your bets on the future of the American auto industry? Automakers struggling to compete in the domestic and world markets plan to imitate the Japanese in one more way: pay and benefits for their employees.

The Big 3 are asking for givebacks from the UAW amounting to $25 per hour, as the companies stake out their position for negotiating a new contract. Japanese workers are said to make the equivalent of $48 per hour in pay and benefits, while Americans earn $70+.

Cut that much in a year, or even over three years? Not likely. But the automakers are betting their future on the plan. Also on the table in this very high-stakes game, of course, are the workers’ jobs.